How to personalise your jewellery.
One of the most popular set of items in my collection are the birthstone stacking rings.
The concept is really simple, but the details and choices can get a little confusing so I thought I would pop all of the information in one place (here) to help you make sense of it all.
On my website there are two pages that will be most useful to you: the first is the gallery page which contains photos of various ring stacks I have sent out recently. The second is the birthstone stacking rings product page.
The basic idea behind the stacking rings is to choose a set of rings to represent special people, or times (e.g. anniversaries) in your life.
You can choose the birthstones of your children, your family, yourself and your partner. The choices are endless. As well as the birthstones I have simple spacer rings, and gold and silver heart rings which stack beautifully with the stones.
CHOOSING YOUR BIRTHSTONES
Once you have decided what your rings will represent it's time to choose your stones.
The list of stone options that represent each month are:
January - Garnet
February - Amethyst
March - Aquamarine
March - Sky blue topaz (alt )
April - Cubic zirconia (aka cz) (Alt to diamond)
April - White topaz (Alt to diamond)
May - Emerald (I offer real and synthetic emeralds)
June - Moonstone (Alt to pearl which I don't think is hard wearing enough for a ring)
July - Ruby (I offer real and synthetic rubies)
August - Peridot
September - Sapphire (I offer real and synthetic sapphires)
October - Opal ( I have white ones with flashes of colour, real and synthetic, and darker opals)
October - Pink tourmaline (Alt)
November - Citrine
December - Turquoise
December - Blue zircon
December - Tanzanite
December - Swiss blue or london blue topaz
CUTS (SHAPES) OF THE BIRTHSTONES
On my birthstone stacking rings product page you will see that I have a variety of stone cuts; e.g. rose-cut, trillion cabochon etc. I will write a blog post shortly detailing what each of these stone cuts are, but in the meantime you can see each product page for pictures and details.
Please be aware I do not have all of the possible birthstones in each different cut. Some stones just aren't cut in a particular way, or I haven't found a good supply of them (yet).
It's at this point that it is worth having a browse through the ring sets I've made before in the gallery to see what shapes you think look good together.
I think about two thirds of the stacking ring sets I make are three ring stacks and these look great with a longer shaped stone (e.g. an oval or an octagon, or a larger trillion as in the case above) with two small stones stacked to one side.
Getting the stones to stack together perfectly takes a bit of work. If you would like the rings to sit as in the set above, with very little gap between the rings you will need to choose 5mm stones or less to sit above each other. Even when we're using a 5mm stone I will set the stones off centre on the band slightly so they accomodate each other in the stack.
This is why it really helps (but isn't vital) to order all of your stacking rings together at the same time, so I can enable as good a fit between the stones as possible.
One other thing to be aware of is that the square stones do look a little larger so I offer 4mm and 5mm options for those rather than 5mm and 6mm.
If you have any questions on whether certain stones would work together please get in touch. I'm always happy to help.
On the stacking rings I offer both a hammered finish and a smooth finish. In the gold heart stack above the middle ring holding the gold heart has the hammered finish whilst the others have been left smooth. A mix of the finishes gives a really nice contrast, and adds texture to the ring set.
I personally prefer the hammered look for myself as the finish hides the bangs and scratches I somehow manage to make on all my own rings, and also bounces the light making the ring more shiny.
SIZING FOR YOUR RING
Take a peek at this blog post I wrote for more information on how to measure your ring size.
So you've decided to go for it and get a new ring - but have no idea what size to buy. There are a few options.
Here's what you need to do....
The two most reliable methods are:
1) to use one of those finger sizers. You know the ones, the set of metal rings that you try on until you get the perfect fit. You can pick up one of these for yourself on ebay or similar. Or just pop into a high street jewellery shop and get them to size your finger for you. They are usually quite happy to do this for you.
2) you could measure an existing ring that fits you perfectly on a ring gauge, which again you can pick up cheaply or find in a local jewellery shop. I'm also really happy to do this for you if you'd like to send it to me. Just get in touch.
The third, and slightly less accurate method, is to use a DIY ring sizer. These are like little plastic belts that you pop around your finger and adjust until you have a perfect fit. I sell these in my shop. The results are usually absolutely fine, but they do feel slightly different to a ring which I think makes the fit a little harder to judge.
What not to do!
There are a couple of ways to get a less accurate measurement which I really would not recommend - these are:
1) measuring your finger with a piece of string or paper. The flimsiness of these materials does lead to a much less accurate measurement.
2) measuring the diameter of an existing well-fitting ring with a ruler or a printable size chart. I know this seems like a logical thing to do, but half a mm can mean a whole size difference so unless you are extra accurate in taking the measurement, it could result in a poor fit.
Things to take into consideration when checking your ring size.
The thicker the ring, the tighter the fit, so if you choose a ring with a deep band width, you will likely need to go one size up. Likewise, if you're going for a set of stacking rings of three or more, go up half to a full size to take account of that.
The best time of day to measure is in the evening, when your fingers are largest. Avoid measuring when you’re cold, as fingers are at least half a size smaller.
How to secretly measure for ring size.
All of the above methods are easy enough to measure your own ring size but what if the ring is a gift and you want to keep it secret? Don't worry, there are some options.
The easiest one is to borrow a ring that fits the person in question really well. Ideally you should borrow the ring for long enough to take it to a jewellers to get it measured on a ring gauge. Remember that each finger is different so if you are planning on purchasing an engagement ring as a suprise, don't take the ring size of a ring which fits the person's thumb, or second finger. You'll need to use a ring which fits well on the ring finger.
If you can't borrow the ring for long enough to take to a jewellers shop - again, you could buy your own ring gauge (I think you can get them for less than £5 on ebay) or you could try the ring on your own finger, and make a mark where the ring sits. Then head to the jeweller and get the ring measurement that fits to that point on your finger.
Finally, and this one is probably a little obvious, but you could ask what ring size he/she is, either asking the person themselves, or phoning a friend or relative to see if they know.
Why it's important to get the ring size right.
It's important to get the size as accurate as possible, as all of my rings are handmade to your exact specification. As a custom item I can't accept returns unless there is a fault with the ring.
If the ring is too small I can usually help, as I have a tool which enables me to stretch the band of rings a little - possibly up to 2 sizes depending on the ring. This would involve a small cost to cover my return p&p and time.
However, if the ring is too big I can't resize it. Reducing the size of the ring involves cutting through the band to remove some of the material, and then resoldering. Unfortunately, the temperature involved in the resoldering process is high, and flows round the band and into the stones causing heat damage; discolouration and cracking. I think some high street jewellers are able to reduce the ring size for you, as they have special tools to restrict the heat, but I'm not able to recommend anyone specifically.
You will notice that on my website the ring sizes are letters, and this is the UK ring size. If you have found your ring size in US sizing or European sizing which are both numerical just let me know as I can work with that.
I really hope that all helps, but if you have any problems or need some advice on sizing pop me an email, or leave a comment here.
Most of the bangles I sell are round in shape, but there is the option to have them in an opening bangle, or in a cuff (open) style bangle if you require. Just get in touch to let me know if you'd prefer this.
For the round bangles I usually offer three sizes as standard:
Small is 60mm diameter/ 18.9cm circumference
Medium is 65mm diameter/ 20.4cm circumference
Large is 70mm diameter/ 22cm circumference
So how do you know what is the best size bangle for you?
Well, the 2 best options are:
1) Measure an existing, well-fitting bangle
This is the easiest option - just find a bangle that fits you well, and measure the internal diameter (across from North to South straight through the middle of the bangle). Make sure it's the inside of bangle you measure, don't reach to the outer edge of the bangle. Then choose the nearest size (bigger) from the choices above.
2) Measuring your hand with a tape
You'll need a measuring tape, or piece of string.
Bend your thumb as far as possible into your hand. The kind of position you would put your hand into if you were putting a bangle on, with the thumb reaching toward the little finger.
Then wrap the measuring tape around the widest part of your hand. Keep the tape tight, it shouldn't be loose - we are looking to get a measurement of the smallest you can make your wrist. It's always so tempting to leave a bit of wiggle room when measuring, but you don't want to do that!
Make a note of the size, or mark the string and measure against a ruler.
This measurement gives you the circumference (see the size guides above).
Bearing in mind when choosing your size, that you will want to go for the next size up, rather than the nearest size down. If you've measured correctly you should have the circumference of the hand at its smallest, so anything smaller than that just will not go on.
Do bear in mind that all of my bangles are handmade for you, so if you find you need a different size, just let know, I'd be happy to help.
If you're unsure, or are buying as a gift, I'd recommend going for the medium size 65mm diameter, which fits most people, and is by far the most common size in the UK.